Geezers Tour XV: Minnesota Trails Revisited

Posted by on Oct 15, 2007 in Geezer Tour Reports | 0 comments

The Geezers are back from their Minnesota Tour. No flats, one minor spill, and one bike dropped at 70 mph (still operable). Those participating:

  • Gary & Suzanne Cannon
  • Ivory & Maxine Grayson
  • Anne Hitchcock
  • Fred & Bonnie Kamp
  • Dwayne and Jerri Lee (from Pond Creek)
  • Tom & Karen Russell
  • Penny Speck (Itinerant)
  • Barbara Thomas (from KC)
  • Jim & Arletta Webster (from Stillwater)
  • Steve & Cynthia Wade

Riders shown in Bold

Founding Geezers Jim & Freda Foreman and Joe & Margaret DiMonico couldn’t go. Freda was recuperating from a broken leg, rumored to have been obtained in a mud wrestling event. Joe couldn’t find anyone to mind the store. John & Kay Shenk had to drop out at the last minute because John had minor surgery performed by former OBS President, Dr Reed McNeely.

Everyone arrived in Lanesboro, MN (780 mi from OKCY) on Sunday, 9/23/07, many spending the night in Des Moines, IA on the way. Lanesboro is located on the Root River Trail, which extends East and West, and connects to the Harmony – Preston Trail which extends South. The trails are paved and run through scenic countryside. Hills are gradual and not high, except for a few hills north of Harmony and West of Huston, the East end of the Root River Trail.

Monday, some rode to Preston, about a 20 mile loop. Others rode past Preston to Harmony, about a 44 mile loop. These riders were rewarded by being rained on on the return. Meanwhile, the shoppers ran rampant, and many took a guided tour of the Amish territory, leading to more shopping.

Tuesday, since the first section of trail east of Lanesboro was washed out, the riders sagged to Huston and rode 24 mile loops starting West. Some rode West all of the way to the washout, about 26 miles.

Wednesday, Penny returned to Custer, SD, where she and her husband, Jim, were working in the Custer State Park. This was the day that the remaining folks were to relocate to Rochester, MN. Some went directly, about 38 miles. Others went indirectly via La Crosse, WI (about 50 miles) in order to ride the Great River Trail, 21 miles, north from La Crosse to Marshland, WI, which is across the Mississippi from Winona, MN. This is a non paved trail with a $4 fee. The first two thirds are packed screened limestone, almost like cement. The remaining section is gravel, probably not quite up to Katy Trail standards, but Barbara made it on her road bike. Of those who rode the trail, depending upon SAG plans, some rode end to end, and some rode a loop from La Crosse to Tempealeau on the Mississippi and back. After the ride, Jim and Arletta left for Kentucky to attend a reunion. The rest drove to Rochester, about 60 miles. On this part of the journey, Ivory’s vehicle was following Fred’s vehicle on I-90 at 70 mph. Fred noticed that Ivory was no longer in view. About that time Bonnie received a cell call from Ivory that Fred’s bike had fallen off the rear rack and that Ivory had stopped and rescued it from the path of an 18 wheeler. Ivory somehow attached the remains to his rack and brought them to where Fred had stopped. This time Fred clamped them on his rack the proper way and all continued to Rochester. There, Gary and Steve did reconstructive surgery, truing the wheels, and tightening things up. Behold! The bike was rideable!

Thursday, we rode part of the urban trails in Rochester. There are lots of them and we couldn’t ride them all. They are spread all over town, many connecting scenic parks. The street crossings are almost all located at intersections with signal lights with walk lights that we didn’t handle well. We had some navigational errors and had to revert to the city streets in places. As we blundered along, at the crossings and on the city streets, the drivers treated us with courtesy. We figured that, if in OKCY, we would be dead before we finished.

Friday, our last riding day, we elected to ride the Cannon Valley Trail, which runs from Cannon Falls east 20 miles to Red Wing, MN, on the Mississippi. This required SAGing 50 miles to Cannon Falls, then along the trailside road, and 60 miles back from Red Wing to Rochester. The Trail is paved (probably better than some Oklahoma roads) and has a $3 fee. We agreed that this was the best ride, scenic and easy. Softhearted Steve was concerned that there was not enough blood in our collective group to fulfill the needs of the mosquitoes we encountered. (They were not a factor if you were moving). Gary asserted that the vicinity was named after his great grandfather, “Cocked” Cannon. The Russels started home after the ride.

Except for the Monday afternoon rain, the weather was excellent, cool in the morning, warming up later. Many wore tights early which became unnecessary by the end of the ride. It rained twice more, but at night, when we were not bothered. The trees were just beginning to turn.

Recumbents outnumbered real bicycles, illustrating a moral decay in the ranks of the Geezers. The unnatural comfort of these bikes led to a great deal of singing by Cynthia and Suzanne, effectively frightening away any trail side wild life. Although riding a real bike, Barbara also sang while she enjoyed the ride and surroundings.

Suzanne was the champion shopper in the Amish district, buying all sorts of furniture that Gary had to stow in his vehicle. Bonnie, Jerri, Anne, Suzanne, and Cynthia enjoyed shopping in the Red Wing pottery store. Maxine finally found a casino and emerged poorer and wiser, not needing a planned wheel barrow to carry her winnings.

Saturday we started home, many spending the night in Cameron, Mo, just north of KC.

Photos Below:

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